When you’re constantly on the move, it’s funny how much a hostel can impose on your perception of a place.
I didn’t think Rosario or Córdoba were all that great because my hostels were empty and lifeless, while Buenos Aires and Cusco were equally as great because the hostels were spacious, fun, and packed with interesting people who will make creating characters for my next novel a whole lot easier.
And unknown to me before I arrived, Máncora wouldn’t actually be a popular place for tourists if it weren’t for one party hostel in particular.
Indeed, the town itself is pretty bleak, and wouldn’t even be on the map if it were not on the coast at the tip of Peru and a convenient place for backpackers to stop off on their South America loop.
But it has become well known on the continent for being a bit of a party destination, and a lot of this is down to the Loki hostel, which is a popular chain throughout South America.
Before you get a false impression of Máncora, it’s not anything like a party island in the same sense that Malia, Ayia Napa, And Shagaluf are renowned around Europe.
There is no strip full of bars and clubs in Máncora, which makes it even more bizarre to think that people actually make the twenty hour pilgrimage here from Lima just for a good time.
What is even more bizarre, is that people visit purely for a couple of nights out in the Loki, but with the town being located right on the beach in one of the hottest regions of Peru, it makes sense that the hierarchy of one of South America’s most popular hostel chains saw an opportunity to open up a party palace here.
With high rise rooms, a restaurant, and a big swimming pool, it really doesn’t give you a reason to leave, and is basically a beach resort for budget travellers who want to drown themselves in a pit of sesh for a few days.
There really is no escaping it from the moment you arrive, with daily activities which revolve around drinking games it’s sometimes best advised to slip away and nap in one of the many hammocks to prepare yourself for the night ahead.
The hostel has earned a reputation on both the backpacking circuit and among South Americans who flock here for vacations and weekend getaways when they feel the need to let their hair down.
And, to be honest, I don’t think it would be going too far to say that Loki is Máncora (this blog post wouldn’t exist without it). There is literally nothing else in the town, so much so to the extent that I didn’t once get my camera out for a photo.
I got the impression that the hostel is the only reason people choose to go to Máncora (I promise Loki aren’t paying me to write this), especially given that no where else in the town is open after the hostel bar closes at 2am, resulting in herds of inebriated travellers flooding out to the oceanfront for a makeshift beach party like seagulls trying to hunt for Nemo.
It really doesn’t add up that out of all the places for a wee break in South America, people choose to flock to a desolate town in Northern Peru, and yet somehow it seems to work?
And if we revert back to my theory that the quality of a hostel is directly related to your impression of a place, there is no where that this rings more true than in Máncora, and predominantly because the only time I felt the need to leave the Loki was to book a bus so I could get the hell out of there.
Next stop, for the first time, I’m not actually entirely sure, but for now I’m going to go with Bogota. Until then.